US Popstar, Taylor Swift must face a jury trial over accusations that she copied lyrics for Shake It Off from another song.
A US judge has refused Swift’s request to dismiss the case, saying a jury may find that her 2014 hit copied girl group 3LW’s 2001 tune Playas Gon’ Play.
Both tracks feature variations of the phrases “players gonna play” and “haters gonna hate”.
The judge had previously rejected the case, saying the lyrics were too “banal” to be copyrighted.
However, songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler appealed against the ruling and a federal appeals court reversed his decision.
That sent the case back to Judge Fitzgerald. Swift asked for a summary judgment – an immediate ruling that she had not infringed copyright – but on Thursday, he refused.
“Even though there are some noticeable differences between the works, there are also significant similarities in word usage and sequence/structure,” he wrote.
He added that “the court cannot presently determine that no reasonable juror could find substantial similarity of lyrical phrasing, word arrangement, or poetic structure between the two works”.
Swift’s experts had made “persuasive arguments,” he concluded, but that was not enough to stop the case coming to trial.
A date for the trial has yet to be announced.